Male dominance and female autonomy: domestic authority in matrilineal societies

HRAF Press New Haven Published In Pages: ??
By Schlegel, Alice


This book examines male and female power in various kinship configurations. Variables for male dominance and female autonomy are associated with various political and social variables, such as political complexity and co-wife jealousy. Several hypotheses are supported.

Hypotheses (15)

"I hypothesize that matrilateral cross-cousin marriage is associated with husband authority in the domestic group, and that patrilateral cross-cousin marriage is associated with brother authority in the domestic group" (10)Supported
". . . in societies in which fraternal authority characterizes the domestic group, there will be an emphasis upon sibling incest; . . . in societies in which the husband has authority over the domestic group, the emphasis will be upon father-daughter incest" (12)Supported
"It is apparent, as one would expect, that wife-to-husband deference is highly characteristic of Husband Dominant societies" (60)Supported
". . . Sister-to-brother deference is highly characteristic of Brother Dominant societies" (60)Supported
". . . substantial bridewealth will be found more often in societies with husband authority, and . . . token bridewealth, or none, will be found in the other types" (21)Supported
"Disruption of marriage and divorce are also closely associated with the authority patterns. In both Brother Dominant and Neither Dominant societies, the stable figure tends to be the woman, with the husband leaving in case of divorce" (85)Supported
". . . control is associated with authority; so that husband or brother control correspond with husband or brother authority, and Type III [equivalent husband and brother authority] is associated with some form of partial or total female control" (22)Supported
"I hypothesize that co-wife jealousy is associated with husband authority, as wives compete for access to the center of power in the home" (23)Supported
". . . menstrual restrictions are associated with the status of women; i.e., that menstrual restrictions are more severe in Types I and II and/or IV and V than in Type III societies" (26) [See Comments for definitions of types]Not Supported
"Sibling avoidance occurs most frequently in societies with husband authority, as a mechanism for keeping the brother, who has some authority over his sister within the descent group, from interfering in her marriage, in which her husband has authority" (26)Not Supported
"Where craft specialization is developed, skilled labor becomes a valuable asset. . . . It would, then, be to the economic advantage of the group to have a strong managerial figure, and one form of male dominance would result" (80)Supported
". . . I had predicted that a low level of political complexity would be associated with Husband Dominant societies and a higher level with Brother Dominant" (80-81)Supported
"There is a significant relationship between no or low stratification and Husband Dominant or Neither Dominant domestic authority. . . . Medium or high stratification [is] present in . . . Brother Dominant societies . . ." (81)Supported
"Residence patterns show a high degree of association with domestic authority patterns. . . . Virilocality is significantly associated with Husband Dominant, and absence of virilocality is . . . associated with both Brother Dominant and Neither Dominant" (82)Supported
"There is a significant association . . . between Mother's Brother Control and special concern about sibling incest" (124)Supported

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:mas Amelia Piazza